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Nasty Ingredients


Fat Guy
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Bux:FYI, I suppose they are not crickets, but locusts, which are eaten boiled down with soy. It is rare to see them on family table nowadays. Young generation does not know they are eligible. In my life, I tried it once. Taste? Forgot. I was too many years ago.

Another nasty ingredient which I recall is Fu-Yu, fermented bean curd.(Detailed explanatin is available at http://www.foodsubs.com/Soyprod.html) Its smell is intoleable as well as that of Natto. But it is good and gives rich flavor when it is used as a part of seasoning of Tantan-men, Chinese noodles with in hot-chili soup.(See Noodle variation page of http://www.worldramen.net/) I heard it is used for rice gruel in Hong Kong and Taiwan.Umm...how is it?  

(Edited by BON at 1:22 pm on Sep. 1, 2001)

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FYI, I suppose they are not crickets, but locusts, which are eaten boiled down with soy. It is rare to see them on family table nowadays. ...  I tried it once. Taste? Forgot.
As a city dweller, it's hard to distinguish between bugs. ;)

We were in a pretty remote ryokan in the Japan "Alps." We were the first westerners to stay there. I suppose they had old fashioned food. I hope they were not insulted that we did not eat the locusts. When I told the story to a Japanese friend, all that he had to say was that they had "no taste, just crunchy."

repulsive ingredients, how about dried shrimp?
How about them. In Japan we had chewy dry shrimp that were delicious - sort of a seafood jerky. I've not found any here in Chinatown that compare, but I don't really know how to look. Assuming you like the flavor of fresh shrimp, I don't know why dried shrimp should be repulsive. We buy the little cheap ones and dry them until they're really dry and hard and then pulverize them. We used the ground shrimp as a coating for salmon fillets or steaks and cook them in a hot pan. If the thought is still repulsive, you can use pulverised dry shitake mushrooms.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

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Quote: from Katherine on 7:57 am on Aug. 31, 2001

I am one of those people to whom cilantro tastes like soap...

...I love dill when it's done properly, which means it needs to be the focus of a dish

I'm kind of the reverse... I've always loved cilantro--even before it became trendy--but can only barely stand dill.  My relationship with Lemongrass is actually most similar to yours with Cilantro.  I hated it years ago, but now recognize how necessary it is to certain dishes.

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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Quote: from Jason Perlow on 12:03 pm on Sep. 1, 2001

However cilantro and lemongrass in asian and mexican chicken soups is good.

When I was away last I had both a great Mexican chicken soup with tons of chili oil and cilantro, and a great Thai chicken soup with tons of chili oil and lemongrass.  I guess there's a clear pattern there to my preferences. :)

I haven't noticed a "Chicken Soups from around the World" thread anywhere, so I'm gonna start one!

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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  • 1 month later...
Quote: from Kim WB on 10:50 am on Aug. 31, 2001

I hate mint, especially spearmint.   I don't like it as an ingredient in ANTYTHING..I buy kids flavored tooth paste in order to avoid it.

Hey, I brush my teeth with Monkey Brand tooth powder [bought at Alps drug company, 42nd street and 9th avenue], which is basically charcoal with essential oils in it. No mint there. I also add some green tea powder [from Ten Ren's tea shop, either Mott street just below Canal, or Flushing, Queens], which is good for the gums.

Actually, you can get mint-free toothpaste at health food stores like Prana [125 First Avenue]. There's this Auromere Ayurvedic toothpaste that has the flavor of anise, and the real bonus is that none of them are sweetened with saccharine. That's what I hate.

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Quote: from Bux on 1:00 pm on Sep. 1, 2001

Assuming you like the flavor of fresh shrimp, I don't know why dried shrimp should be repulsive. We buy the little cheap ones and dry them until they're really dry and hard and then pulverize them.

I'm not really grossed out by them myself, it's just that if you take a fresh look they are actually little pink dried bugs. All this talk about how crickets and locusts are disgusting, but all crustaceans are big bugs with squishy insides -- we're just used to them, so we overlook that little fact.

And what about cheese? Rotten bodily fluids! I'm surprised that Asians dare to try it....

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Quote: from Bux on 1:00 pm on Sep. 1, 2001

Assuming you like the flavor of fresh shrimp, I don't know why dried shrimp should be repulsive.

you don't *really* think that, do you?

do you like prunes?  how about plums?

i guess it has to do with the intesity of the flavor.  if i were to guess, i'd say one of those chewy little shrimp packs the flavor of about, oh, 5000 shrimp.  so assuming one could fit 5000 shrimp in a cavity in one of your molars at once, do ya think you might see why some might find it yucky? ;)

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Assuming you really like a certain flavor, it would seem only reasonable to assume some intensity would be a plus. It will depend on how the dried shrimps, in this case, are used. Put in soups they release much of their flavor to the soup. Ground to a powder and used to coat fish, they are but one element in your mouth. The exception would be when they are popped into yout mouth like candy. Even then, I've found the full flavor is released slowly. I suspect the dislike is as much related to the change in flavor as it dries as much as the intensity. Dried herbs rarely taste the same as fresh although some change more than others. Prunes and plums have a different taste, as well as a different texture and consistency, which I suspect also affects your sense of taste. As far as texture and taste, I think it's pretty well agreed that different pastas made from the same formula, have a different taste because they feel different in your mouth.

It's no surprise that dried shrimp look like dried bugs. I've long found that fresh shrimp look exactly like fresh bugs. At least I've tried to convince myself of that, but it's never managed to make crustaceans repulsive or lend gastronomic appeal to bugs. I was never more aware of that then when, at a dinner party hosted by a Japanese friend, a bowl of small shrimp was passed around the table. For all the resemblance to bugs, I had little trouble overcoming an initial reluctance to eat them as everyone else did--shells, feet and all. It was only after I started to enjoy them that I noticed some of the more fastidious guests removed the feelers. Admittedly, we were well oiled with predinner drinks at the time and, as I've often found the case in a Japanese dinner party, there were glasses of several different kinds of alcohol in front of me. My single experience with bugs, crickets or cicadas, was cold sober and at breakfast. It was an experience that I limited to the realm of sight. Our eleven year old daughter who was traveling with us, took some solace in being able to point out that the difference between us was one of degree and not an absolute reluctance to deal with some new foods.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Quote: from Bux on 10:03 am on Oct. 16, 2001

. I suspect the dislike is as much related to the change in flavor as it dries as much as the intensity.

we agree.  good. ;)

and yes, as an element, they add wonderful flavor.  when you get a whole one stuck in your teeth, it's quite another story.

as i mentioned earlier, shrimp paste is even worse i think, and is not much more than ground up shrimp i would suppose.

(Edited by tommy at 11:17 pm on Oct. 16, 2001)

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we agree.  good.
I disagree. I mean I agree we agree, but I disagree that it's good. ;)

Threads are generally far more interesting when the participants disagree than when they agree. Don't you agree? ;)

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Quote: from Bux on 12:21 pm on Oct. 16, 2001

[Threads are generally far more interesting when the participants disagree than when they agree. Don't you agree? ;)

and they're even better when we disagree with ourselves.  i've spent many a thread arguing a point to death...alone!

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As long as it doesn't make you go blind. ;)

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Quote: from Bux on 2:12 pm on Oct. 16, 2001

As long as it doesn't make you go blind. ;)

i don't wear these thick cartoon glasses because they make my yellow face look good, that's for sure!

just to keep this on topic a bit, i will say that until about a year ago, i couldn't stand blue cheese.  couldn't even have it touch any of my food.  now i love it.  it seems i had been eating the crappy blue cheese-that-comes-with-buffalo-wings variety for the longest time, not realizing that at its best, it's a wonderful food.

(Edited by tommy at 11:18 pm on Oct. 16, 2001)

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My votes (and I know some people have brought it up here already) are cilantro and fish sauce. And I love them both!  I'm so glad someone brought up the egg issue -- I like eggs, but they do smell a bit funny to me, not really gag-inducing, but almost like an attenuated rotting (sulfuric?) smell.

Funny that people should mention dried shrimp as an "icky" ingredient.  Maybe it's the way I was brought up (in a Chinese household), but dried shrimp has never been that big a deal to me.  I love their chewy texture, kinda salty, and not fishy at all.  Mom stir-fries a few tbsps. of dried shrimp with garlic before dumping in chopped up napa cabbage.

Sorry, no insights on the fermented bean curd (in Mandarin it's called "tso do fu" -- literally "stinky tofu").  Although I'm sure it tastes delicious in rice porridge.  I guess if I weren't so Westernized, I'd feel similarly grossed out by the smell of Limberger (or any cheese, for that matter).

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i think i'm going to go ahead and give dried shrimp another chance.  i've been converted, for now.  as long as i know they're *supposed* to be chewy and salty and pungent, i guess i can deal.  bring it on!  now, where the #### have i had them in the past?!!?!?!

and Bux, exactly how do you go about "drying" fresh shrimp?  i mean, i've dried beef, but i can't imagine it's the same process.  wait, now they seem disgusting again.  forget it.  i don't want to know. ;)

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Choco Kitty, I'll bet that almost all food repulsions are cultural in origin. But there are categories of disgust that are more generalized. In The Anatomy of Disgust William Ian Miller talks about several that would pertain to food:

- decay: cheese, fish sauce, natto. why not wine and beer?

- too many of something: I ordered eel in a Chinese resto once, and, contrary to what I expected, we were served a bowl of tiny eel. I couldn't get down more than one bite.

- something out of place: spit in your mouth is okay. Would you drink a glass of your own spit? How about garlic in a dessert?

- too similar to ourselves: meat, particularly offal.

All cultures seem to follow the above observations, but have their own unique exceptions.

What's the most disgusting thing you've ever eaten?

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  • 4 years later...

It's interesting to me what foods people have "phobias" to. Dill/cilantro are both umbellifers, a group of plants that includes some very poisonous members, like hemlock. It seems many members of this group are either loved or despised. Other members of the group which are either loved or despised are Cumin, Anise, Fennel, Caraway and Asafoetida. I couldn't deal with caraway for the longest time, was so-so on anise, and cilantro I thought hideous the first time I tried it. Now I have a 2 square meter expanse of it in my garden!

Tomatoes are another common one. It was one of the few vegetables (well, okay, technically a fruit) that we had fresh when I was a kid. I never had trouble with tomato sauce, but stewed tomatoes and fresh tomatoes disgusted me. I remember once trying tomatoes again, at the urging of my mother, and actually running back to the bathroom to spit them out. I learned to like them in salads in Greece, where they were wonderfully sweet and tart and flavorful. But still most of fresh tomatoes are anathema to me. I still would not be able to drink a glass of tomato juice without being in serious danger of losing it...

Ground cherries also disgusted me, and it was a long long time before I could eat peppers; I still have a 10 second long "adjustment" period when I eat something with cooked green pepper in it. And I was excited to try tamarillo ("tree tomato") for the first time, only to find out that for me, it embodied all the things of a tomato that repulsed me.

Strangely enough, I love the smell of a fresh tomato, and especially tomato plants.

All of this second group, along with eggplant (yet another love it or hate it food) are also members of a family with lots of poisonous members, the Solanaceae, or nightshade family. I wonder if there are certain compounds in these foods that many of us are genetically programmed to avoid?

"Los Angeles is the only city in the world where there are two separate lines at holy communion. One line is for the regular body of Christ. One line is for the fat-free body of Christ. Our Lady of Malibu Beach serves a great free-range body of Christ over angel-hair pasta."

-Lea de Laria

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Cilantro, aka "DEATH HERB," is one of the most horrible, vile things I cannot stand to eat or smell to this day. Yet, I have to have small amounts of it in salsa and some Vietnamese sauces because without it, the overall flavors just don't round & balance out properly.

But I'm holding my breath the whole time I'm chopping, cleaning & then washing anything that has touched it. RAWR!

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The "most disgusting thing I have ever eaten" is definitely cultural, though the taste (or rather the smell) I did find pretty revolting. It was only 4 weeks ago, in SE Turkey, a dish called "ser û pêpik" (head and feet in Kurdish), in a town about 6 miles from the Iraqi border. It comes in two courses: The intestines (small and large) and stomach, which stuffed (the stomach piece being sewn shut) with rice, then boiled till the rice is very tender. One thing is that the offal (how appropriately named *that* is) must be very carefully washed. I have eaten other dishes with intestines and had no trouble, but this tasted like it had been marinated in lamb poop, and I'm not exaggerating one bit. The woman who made it, the mother of a good friend, had worked all day on it, so there was no question of saying "ugh" and not eating it.

<img src="http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b60/sazji/serupepik.jpg" alt="Image hosted by Photobucket.com">

The second course is the head, surrounded by the feet, which has been boiled in the same pot.

<img src="http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b60/sazji/ser.jpg" alt="Image hosted by Photobucket.com">

It wasn't as bad as the first course, though it did carry some of the innard smell. I can eat brain too. But then, I was not presented with an eye freshly scooped out of the head. (Actually I had the choice, but my friend Leigh Ann, who was there with me, was a much better sport , not to mention a good actress, because I was convinced she was actually enjoying it. She thought I was, thinking "I'm such a wimp...here Bob is open to all these cultural experiences and here I am, trying not to gag"....it was only later when she said "wow...that was brutal," that I realized she was in exactly the same space as I was....) :blink:

"Los Angeles is the only city in the world where there are two separate lines at holy communion. One line is for the regular body of Christ. One line is for the fat-free body of Christ. Our Lady of Malibu Beach serves a great free-range body of Christ over angel-hair pasta."

-Lea de Laria

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Salt. I could never face down a whole plate of the vile stuff.

But, one time, I tried it on a plain cracker, and a whole new world opened up to me! Saltines! Whole grain crackers! Salt on my bread crusts when baking them.

One time, I even tried putting it on my steak before grilling. I don't have to tell you in advance, what a difference that made.

I still can't choke the stuff down raw, though.

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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I vote for nuoc mam and shrimp paste, but not the dried shrimp. Maybe it's because we use a lot of it.

jsolomon, I feel the same way towards salt. I don't add salt unless it's going to be cooked again (like reheat soup). That means scrambled eggs with no salt sometimes.

Edited by miladyinsanity (log)

May

Totally More-ish: The New and Improved Foodblog

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In defense of fish sauce, I agree that the stuff smells bad, but the taste is mostly just salty if you ask me. Have you guys ever made nam plaa phrik? Take about three teaspoons of fish sauce, add some very thinly sliced Thai chilies, very thinly sliced garlic, and squeeze in a some lime juice. Try that and you won't be saying you find fish sauce disgusting any more!

Austin

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It's frighten to say this, but I don't eat Tomato raw. It's perfectly OK when it is cooked with heat. With herb like garlic is more preferred. As well as Natto, I cannot stand fresh Tomato smell.

Wow, my best friend can't stand raw tomato either. She puts it very simply by saying "Those aren't done in the middle. Nope, not gonna eat it."

I love them, especially raw, with a shaker of salt in the other hand. You are the first other person I have run across with the same taste as my friend.

Edited by annecros (log)
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It's frighten to say this, but I don't eat Tomato raw. It's perfectly OK when it is cooked with heat. With herb like garlic is more preferred. As well as Natto, I cannot stand fresh Tomato smell.

Wow, my best friend can't stand raw tomato either. She puts it very simply by saying "Those aren't done in the middle. Nope, not gonna eat it."

I love them, especially raw, with a shaker of salt in the other hand. You are the first other person I have run across with the same taste as my friend.

I actually dislike raw tomatoes as well, and I know someone else who feels the same.

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